Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Nate Silver and Zen

So I read the Nate Silver book and I have mixed feelings about it. It is not as good as I hoped, but there were some interesting points made. One thing that really struck me is something he says at the end a chapter about how as a forecaster you need to satisfy yourself that you did as good a job as you could, that you were unbiased and honest with yourself and others and that you need to have a certain amount of detachment about the outcome of your prediction. This reminded me of the scene in James Clavell's "Shogun" where a drunken samurai asks to bring him his bow and shoots an arrow through a shoji screen at a post in the dark garden. He then asks the Englishman, Blackthorne, to inspect the post to confirm if the arrow hit the target. Meanwhile, the samurai sat there with an aloof expression on his face. The samurai's wife explained that what was important was not whether the arrow hit the target (although she was sure that it did) but the grace of the archer's movement, his skill with the weapon and his indifference to the outcome of his shot.


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